If you read any of the major international art magazines then you have probably realized that earlier this year marked the 100th anniversary of the First Futurist Manifesto. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s impassioned rant still holds some water evidently. Thus we get Maurizio Cattelan posed in any number of historically inspired states of buffoonery.
If not for my efforts to plow through 1500 pages of Roberto Bolaño, I might actually be able to say something intelligent about Futurism. At my parents’ home in Portland, Oregon over the holidays, I picked up a copy of Marinetti’s Critical Writings at Powell’s Books. (Aside: How great is Powell’s? I got a brand-new hardcopy of this book for $8.99, down from the original $40.) It’s an incredibly thorough volume, more than any accept for a few scholars could every possibly need.
My first encounter, so to speak, with Marinetti was as a student in Florence one cold winter and frosty spring. An overly enthusiastic Italian professor waxed about the Futurists and their avant-gardism, excitedly pointing out the Giubbe Rosse caffe in Piazza della Repubblica where they used to sip their macchiati. I had no idea what she was talking about until a couple of months later when I stared at the Bocconi’s of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.
I became more intrigued when Rachel Kushner, writing the 2006 On the Ground: Los Angeles feature for Artforum, singled out the Getty’s exhibition A Tumultuous Assembly: Visual Poems of the Italian Futurists. There is no denying the intensity of Marinetti’s beliefs, even as in hindsight we can view them as naïve or self-destructive. Hopefully post-Bolaño I might get the chance to indulge myself further.
On another personal note I am traveling to Los Angeles this week. Let me know if there is anything I definitely need to see.
Although I love MoCA very much, I’m going to bypass this time since Dan Graham is traveling to the Whitney. Otherwise I hope to see Nine Lives at the Hammer, and Art of Two Germany’s / Cold War Cultures and Franz West at LACMA, as well as see some friends in Culver City. Other ideas? Or particular gallery shows?
Also, I just got an email that Skarstedt Gallery’s exhibition of early Barbara Kruger collages have been extended through April 22. I haven’t made it uptown for this one yet, but a couple of art historians whose opinions are worth listening to have assured me it is a must see.